WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A 28-year-old Bronx man was sentenced Friday, May 2, to one to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in connection with a Westchester parking permit scheme.
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said Jahmai Samuel was sentenced to one to three years for felony second-degree grand larceny, and a judgment and order of restitution in the amount of $76,765 was imposed by the court, according to a press release.
Mount Vernon's Marcus Harris, 29, a "principal co-conspirator," was sentenced on March 6 to five years' probation on his guilty plea to one count of third-degree grand larceny, according to the release. Harris repaid $7,325 in restitution at sentencing.
Alessia Velez, 29, of Richmond Hill, was sentenced on Thursday, May 1, to five years' probation on her guilty plea to one count of third-degree grand larceny, according to the release. Velez paid $15,000 in restitution at sentencing and will repay the remainder of $29,445 over her probation term.
The three are the principal defendants in an investigation resulting in charges against another 12 people, according to the release.
"These defendants were all former employees of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation that operates the parking facility," representatives said in the release. "Over a three-year period from Aug. 13, 2009, to June 29, 2012, these defendants were involved in a scheme that involved employees at the parking lot selling full-year, half-year, or quarterly parking permits to unsuspecting customers, who were told to write the check out to a 'third party,' rather than Westchester County.
"Customers were told that these 'third parties' had lost their jobs, or moved and no longer needed their parking space and were trying to recoup a portion of their parking permit fee. The names that the customers were induced to write on the checks were usually one of the defendants or a friend/family member."
Representatives said the "scheme came to light when Jahmai Samuel was the victim of a gunshot robbery on June 29, 2012, in the Bronx."
The New York Police Department questioned Samuel about why he was in possession of $3,000 cash, and he maintained that the money was customer parking cash receipts from his job, which “he forgot to take to the bank after work,” according to the release.
"The New York City shooting proved to be the catalyst for this investigation in that it prompted questions as to how an employee of the Westchester County Department of Parks came in to possession of that much cash representing parking proceeds," representatives said.
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the New York City Transit MetroCard Fraud Unit conducted the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway, deputy chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, prosecuted the cases.